Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Our Tiny House 2015 Jayco Pinnacle 36KPTS RV Tour!

Today's post title would be more intriguing if we had a name for our house on wheels... we're still workin' on a good one. Have a suggestion? Leave a comment below and Mr. ArtSea Chic and I will take a look. :)

The moment many of you have been waiting for is here - some insight into why we chose a 2015 Jayco Pinnacle 36KPTS and our tiny house RV tour! So let's start with the numbers behind our decision that I briefly touched on when discussing what it takes to be a full-time tiny house RVing couple.

Renting a nice apartment unit in Houston outside the loop is about $1,500 for one room and a den + water $30 + electric $100 + renter’s insurance $125 = average total of $1,755 per month. That’s approximately $21,060 in rent and utilities for a year to live in one spot/a living space that we don’t own. For the 3-5 years we would live in our tiny house RV, the cost of living in an apartment for 3-5 years would be $63,180 to $105,300 without considering rent increases year to year.
After finding the 2015 Jayco Pinnacle 36KPTS we wanted, the price went down from approximately $81,000+TTL to $65,000+TTL thanks to the dealer we chose, Lone Star RV Houston. After negotiating the price down further, we landed around $61,970 including TTL + a few needed accessories. We put a $6,300 down payment on the cost and got a $55,670 loan from USAA which we’ll pay at minimum $500 monthly. Also secured is $92 per month full-time RV insurance with Progressive. We wont have to pay for water use in the RV, so the only added cost is electric at $0.12 per kWh which we calculated out to be around $50 per month + monthly site rent at $660. We’ll pay about $1,302 total per month; that’s $15,624 per year in rent and utilities to live in our new tiny house RV that we own. For the next 3-5 years we’ll invest $46,872 to $78,120.
That’s a savings of $21,744 over 3-5 years when compared to apartment living!
I'll break the savings down even further: $453 per month and $5,436 per year

Some say it's too expensive to have the lifestyle of full-time RVing, but we definitely see a savings just in living costs alone for our personal situation. When we plan our first road trip, we'll compare the costs of airfare vs. taking to the road towards our destination in Mr. ArtSea Chic's Ford F250 Diesel. The long-term savings is just one of my favorite parts of this new lifestyle change, the other is the confidence in the RV brand we chose.

Mr. ArtSea Chic's brother has a Jayco, so we had a little insight into the brand at first, but we really learned everything from the ground up. Here's a few FAQ:

  • Jayco is one of the very few RV brands that offers a 2 year bumper-to-bumper limited warranty. This is a gem!
  • Their team includes Amish craftsmen who are known for their quality woodworking skills.
  • Jayco does NOT use stock frames, they use custom frames specifically for each unique floor plan.
  • Jayco's ClimateShield helps give added protection against extreme weather, from 100 to 0 degrees Fahrenheit.  
  • Jayco has been around since 1968 when the company used the owner's farm has their building site. Today, they are the largest family-owned and operated RV manufacturer, with a HQ in Middlebury, Indiana. 
  • I love a brand that keeps the environment in mind from inception to growth. Jayco's EcoAdvantage is their commitment to protect the environment through sustainable ways to build better RVs by using renewable natural resources and reducing their carbon footprint. They realize the world is our campground, and they'll do their part to take care of it. Below is the impact they make last year.

Now, let's checkout the layout and features of our new 40' 5th wheel home!

With 3 slide-outs, hitch lock, two power awnings with accent lights and lots of outside storage space the exterior of the RV has a lot to offer. Included is two gray waste water tanks, one black waste water and one fresh water tank. On the driver side in its own storage compartment are two 30 gallon propane tanks! The front door features a keyless entry lock for added safety, in addition to the normal key locks. We also have a water filtration system, indoor/outdoor radio, a Helix A/C system with two units (one in the bedroom and the other in the kitchen/living room space), and a MOR/ryde pin box for a great tow. This beauty's dry weight (nothing inside or in tanks) comes in at approximately 11,895 pounds.  

Walking up the stairs to get inside the RV, you immediately see our must-have feature... a 18 cubic foot residential SAMSUNG stainless steel freezer and refrigerator with an 1000-watt inverter. It's big enough to hold a lot of fresh fish, meat, and local veggies/fruits! We can also lock all its doors so when we're on the road nothing falls out. The slide-outs are carpet trimmed with laminate flooring throughout the entire kitchen and living room space, making it super easy to clean.

The dinette area has four chairs that have cushions that fold up for seat storage, and a table with an additional leaf for expanding to fit 6 people. Above is an LED light with fabric shade.

Look at all those cherry wood cabinets and drawers! :) Every one of them has tight latches so when we're driving down the road they don't fly open. We have a full pantry, pull-out trash can cabinet, stainless steel residential sink and a large island with storage cabinets. Another favorite is the SAMSUNG stainless steel convention microwave which comes in handy a lot. Right below it is a three-burner gas stove top and oven. The only thing we don't like about the oven is having to light the burner inside by hand (such a drag and makes me nervous).

The countertops might look and feel like marble, but it's actually LG HI-MACS solid-surface countertops with a mirror backsplash near the stove. Smooth and easy to clean any mess; not my ideal color, but we'll fix that in a future renovation project. :) A super neat feature is a collapsible charging station that holds up to 3 devices. The ceiling has a fan, LED lights, and a hardwood decorative backlit mirror mantle.

Here's a peak inside the side cabinets and pantry... LOTS of space!

Another favorite (we have lots of favorites, which is a good thing) is our Franklin furniture American-made leather recliner couch chairs. They're so comfy! Accent LED lights and living room cabinet storage is above, making it a perfect spot to keep books.

Right in front of the recliner couch chairs is the entertainment area, again, with lots of storage. Accent LED lights are above, a 50'' TV (yes, it came with the RV), and an electric fireplace. To the left of this area, which is the very back of the RV - you guessed it, more cabinets and larger windows with the same blackout shades we have on all the rest of the windows minus the bedroom. Originally here we had two separate leather rocker chairs that came with the RV, but we sold them since they didn't serve any big functional purpose for what we wanted. So in a future renovation we will be building a custom sleeper bed bench so that we can have a full sleeping space for an additional two people.

Going across the living and kitchen space, the control panel is on the left plus a coat closet. This is where the carpet begins up the stairs and straight into the bedroom only; the bathroom has laminate flooring. Notice the safety bars on the wall - they come in handy at night when it's pitch black and you might forget where the stairs are. :) Would've loved to have a night light by the stairs, but unfortunately there's not an outlet nearby.

The small hallway has a window with blackout shades, and directly across from the window is the bathroom. The lockable bathroom door has a toilet paper holder conveniently placed. Inside we have a medicine cabinet with a mirror, one outlet, full sink with a LG HI-MACS solid-surface countertop and lots of cabinet storage! The toilet is your typical RV toilet, except ours is porcelain. To the left of the sink is another favorite of ours, the RV industry's first 36''-wide shower with a skylight above for added light (and headroom for Mr. ArtSea Chic who is 6'3''). I LOVE this shower. Why? Not only is it big for an RV and has features that are versatile across ages, it doesn't have title texturing to the walls or floor. This makes it so incredibly easier to clean and stay clean. The sliding waterfall pattern doors work really well in keeping water inside the shower and having enough space in the sliders to dry out remaining water. Also, when we travel there is a holding lock to keep the doors from sliding.

Like I mentioned earlier, we have laminate flooring in the bathroom. The unintentional feature in here is that due to the way the pipes lay underneath the floors, the heat rises and we get somewhat heated floors. This is especially nice right now when it's cold in the morning. :)

A must-have feature that's in the bathroom is a powerful venting van. Even though I can't reach the opener (gotta get a small stool to stand on), we have no issue with moister build-up on any surfaces.

Around the corner from the bathroom is the bedroom. It has a lockable frosted door, large dresser with storage for clothes and a TV (yes, it came with the RV). We have an emergency exit window in the bedroom, W/D prepped closet, a regular sized king bed with underneath storage (yes, the Denver mattress came with the RV), a decent sized closet, a Dyson vacuum (yes, it came with the RV), and other features like wall reading lights above the bed's headboard, two bedside windows with small shelf space, charging outlets on both sides of the bed, and auto-LED lights in the closet when the doors open and close.

With many other things to see, another post is in store for next time. We aren't finished pairing down and moving in just yet, so we're still making the RV feel like home. You might have noticed I mentioned renovation a couple times. We'll be putting together a plan for a few custom enhancements before we hit the road, and share our ideas and why we want to make a few changes. :) You'll see occasional posts about a day in the life of our new full-time RV journey on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook too, so don't miss a thing and follow on your favorite social site!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

What It Takes To Be A Full-Time Tiny House RVing Couple

Mr. ArtSea Chic and I have been waiting till this special day of thanks to break the news... We're officially full-time tiny house RVing!

Since early this year we had been debating on where we would live to start the next chapter in our journey. Would it be moving to Florida or another part of Texas? An apartment or rental house, or custom building our own tiny house on wheels or on a foundation? We were flipping back and worth on multiple options. There was always the pressure to choose what mainstream couples do when they're ready to get out on their own; rent an apartment or house, or buy a house.

Here's a couple rationales we considered during our decision process:
  1. With our love of traveling and being outdoors, it didn't make any sense for us to invest in a living space we weren't going to be inside of on a consistent basis due to work, road trips and outdoor activities. 
  2. Why would we pay $800+ in rent for a nice apartment or rental house that we couldn't own, when we could put that money towards something we could own that fit our lifestyle? 
  3. Water, electric, wireless Internet, TV... utilities are expensive. We want to "unplug" the best we can from the mainframe. 
  4. We love the lifestyle goals that come with tiny living. Saving money, paying off debt, doing more with less, spending more time with family.
  5. Living responsibly like we're retired - when we aren't! Why wait to embark on adventures till you're aged and can't do as much as you could if you were younger? 
  6. Life is about being happy, not content, happy. Happiness brings success to the heart. No one should feel like they have to keep up with the norms of today's society and corporate America for the sake of being looked upon as successful and happy.
Keep in mind, we didn't just rule out the other living arrangements on the fly with these rationales, there are actual numbers behind our decision too. We went out into the Houston area and priced places we would consider living in, all which didn't meet our standards for one reason or another. It made more sense at that point to have more control of where we wanted to live, when we wanted to live there. 

So what does it take to decide to be a full-time tiny house RVing couple with the correct mindset? For starters, this is a lifestyle change which requires research, planning, dedication, organization and a plan. If you fringe at any of those words, this is not for you.
  • Be at a good place with your personal relationship.
  • Be on the same page about your short-term and long-term goals because both equal the life you'll eventually have together.
  • Both must pay off debt, save, save, and save some more.
  • Must realize you'll be living in a space smaller than either of your parent's homes and cleaning up after yourself is essential to a happy relationship.  
  • Enjoy exploring new places, but also like to have a home base to come back to.
  • Both must not be afraid of having more control over their lives. It is YOUR life right?
  • Understand the responsibilities that come with owning an RV are greater than if you had another living arrangement. You must be more alert, take precautions, keep tabs on the weather and be willing to continue to learn more about the lifestyle.
  • RVers are a helpful, creative, adventurous group of people to make great connections with! Mind you, not everyone who is an RVer is retired or 50+, there are plenty of us younger couples in late 20s-30s too. Must be willing to meet new people all the time.
  • Both must research, plan, dedicate time, organize and have a plan to make full-time RVing possible. It's not a one way street. 
  • Both must be willing to compromise. You're not going to get everything you ever wanted because chances are your perfect idea doesn't exist. 
  • Keep in mind renovations can happen in time to make an RV feel more like a tiny home.
  • Can't have a bunch of "stuff" when you're RVing. Downsizing prior to moving in is a reality that will happen at least 2-4 times depending on how much "stuff" you have. Garage sales, craigslist, sell the stuff off and make some money to put towards savings.
  • Don't be afraid to negotiate on the price you want to pay for the RV plus starter accessories. Give the dealer ultimatums and you'll get closer to what you want.  
These are just a few things Mr. ArtSea Chic and I have thought through and realized doing will help us be more ready for 3-5 years of full-time RVing in our new 5th wheel 2015 Jayco Pinnacle 36KPTS! Keep watch for an overview and tour of what our 5th wheel looks like, and why we chose this particular model of RV over the thousands on the market today. Until next time!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

35 Best Coastal Pumpkins for Fall

Finding unique ideas to decorate your coastal pumpkin can be somewhat difficult. I've gathered thirty-five of the best coastal pumpkins that I think are a great inspiration for fall. From painting and etching to mod podge and sand, there's sure to be a pumpkin that inspires you to take your own spin on having a coastal fall inspired pumpkin.

Think you have one of the best coastal pumpkins? Email me for a chance to be featured on the list!

Coastal Pumpkins

Beach Pumpkins

Coastal Jack-o-lanterns

Pumpkin Centerpiece

Mod Podge Pumpkins

Beach Chic Pumpkin

Ultimate Pumpkins

Sandy Pumpkins

Nautical Pumpkins

Pumpkins by the Sea

Coastal Cornucopia

Coastal Felt Pumpkins

Sea Turtle Pumpkins

Flamingo Pumpkin

Pirate Fish Pumpkin

Mermaid Pumpkin

Mermaid Pumpkin

Purple Palm Pumpkin

Painted Octopus Pumpkin

Alligator & Snail

Turquoise Pumpkins

Seashell Carriage Pumpkins

Scuba Pumpkin

Lilly Pulitzer Pumpkins

Nautical Pumpkin

Coastal Life Pumpkin

Pumpkin Fish Tank

Nemo Pumpkin

Seashell Pumpkin

Fly Fishing Pumpkin

Turtle Pumpkin

Angelfish Pumpkin

Under the Sea Pumpkin

Large Anchor Pumpkin

Jellyfish Pumpkins

Unless otherwise stated, all content and photographs are ©ArtSea Chic. Please do not copy or distribute photographs without first asking for permission. Please know that I only recommend and endorse products and services that I personally approve, appreciate, and feel would be helpful for readers. All ideas and opinions expressed are completely my own. Thank you for supporting ArtSea Chic!

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